Sunday, 2 October 2011

Make Use of Time Lapse Video

I've always enjoyed watching time lapse videos. There's something about time passing along quickly and witnessing something that happened over hours or days in a matter of minutes or seconds.

Earlier this year, I planned to carry out an investigation with my class to prove that evaporation existed. The plan was to make puddles on the playground and then monitor and measure them throughout the day. The problem was that on the morning of the science lesson it had rained heavily over night. This meant we would not be able to create puddles to measure. However, I quickly realised nature had created one large puddle for us across the playground, so I set up a web cam looking out of my classroom and set it to take a photograph every minute between 07:30 and 15:45. The result was the video below, which my class loved watching and evoked a thoughtful discussion afterwards about what we could see happening on screen. I'm now looking for other ways I can make use of time lapse in the classroom...

Saturday, 1 October 2011

What do your class do during registration?

In my first year of teaching, I used registration as an opportunity for children to have some individual reading time. This was a good use of the time and provided children with an opportunity to read.
However, I felt that some children were disengaged with it as every registration resulted in silent reading time. Over the years since, I have started to investigate what other activities could take place during morning and afternoon registration so that I am using the time to my advantage and the children engage with the activities provided. Here are some activities I have used:

Reading: I have not stopped using registration as a time for the children to read. I still use it a couple of times a week. Most days children sit and read at their desk, but this year I have instigated ‘Sit Where You Want Thursday’. On a Thursday afternoon, when the children come in from lunch they can take their book and sit where they want; their own seat, another seat, on the floor, just wherever is most comfortable for them to be when reading. In addition to this, I have also ensured I read a book of my own when the children are reading to model expectations. Both of these have ‘revamped’ reading during registration and provided a more enjoyable experience for some of those who don’t enjoy reading.

Boggle: Using Play Boggle Online I project a Boggle board for the children to make words from. After explaining the rules the first time the children can then carry out this activity without input on further days. It allows children to create words on their own level and provides an opportunity to look at spelling and vocabulary use.

Image Credit:

Countdown: I look in the dictionary for a nine letter word and write it jumbled up onto the board or put it in the middle of each table. The children can again create words at their own level, ranging from one letter words all the way up to seeking to solve the nine letter word. This also provides an opportunity to look at spelling and vocabulary use, while also discussing the meaning of the nine letter word if it’s new to some children.

Wordsearches / Crosswords: When approaching a new topic, I have used wordsearches and crosswords to introduce the vocabulary associated with that topic to the class in advance. I have found the puzzles engage the children in looking at and seeking out the words and then following up this with a discussion about what the words mean and how we can use them.

Thinking Time: Provide the children with an open task like ‘make a list of words that end with a letter g’ or ‘design a flag for our class’. Children complete these and then have the opportunity to share their ideas.

Take 10: During morning registration, take the children outside, or in the classroom in the weather’s not up to much and do some exercises to get them (and you!) ready for the day ahead.

Mobile devices: In the secondary environment this could be the children’s own devices. In the primary environment, if you’re lucky enough to have them, the children can use iPod devices or PSPs to carry out Brain Gym, times table or other suitable activities to allow them to ‘play and learn’ at the same time.

These are just some things I’ve come up with or acquired from others. I have sought to vary the activities I offer, while ensuring what the children are doing is of value to both them and me. Please feel free to comment on these or leave me your suggestions for other things I could use.